Dixons bucks the high street trend

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Currys and PC World owner Dixons Retail bucked the gloom in UK retail yesterday by revealing a bigger-than-expected surge in sales.

The group pointed to the impact of improved ranges and service as sales rose 8 per cent on a like-for-like basis in the UK and Ireland in 16 weeks to April 28.

Dixons, which has around 640 stores in the UK and Ireland as well as outlets across Europe, now expects profits for the year to last month will be near the top end of City expectations at between £65m and £70m.

It represents a strong start at the helm for chief executive Sebastian James, who took over when respected boss John Browett joined Apple in the US.

While there was a strong end to the financial year in the UK and the Nordic region, Dixons said its businesses in southern Europe were impacted by the economic crisis there. Like-for-like sales were down 9 per cent in the region, compared with a 10 per cent rise in northern Europe.

Across the financial year, like-for-like sales for the group were 3 per cent lower, with the figure down 4 per cent in the UK and Ireland.